Today my oldest daughter turns 16.
If you've ever had a teenage daughter, been around a teenage daughter or even heard of a teenage daughter, you realize the fact that she is not being forced to live in a little box shoved into the crawl space under the house with nothing more than a hamster-type water bottle and whatever food she can convince her sisters to bring her is a freaking MIRACLE.
Krystyne was born on December 11, 1994 at Loma Linda Medical Center in Loma Linda, CA just after midnight. I was 17 years old.
I went into labor at only 30 weeks pregnant. I was kept at the hospital for a couple days and then sent home with some medication that I had to take every four hours and strict bed rest instructions. I even had a nurse that came in and checked on me every couple of days. After about a week and a half I went to my doctor's appointment for a routine visit. After a cervical check he informed me that I was still dilating and that I needed to immediately go to the hospital and he would call L&D so they would be expecting me. This was just a couple days before Thanksgiving. That year I spent Thanksgiving in the hospital. I spent almost two and a half weeks in the hospital on bed rest. I was allowed to get up to go to the bathroom and every other day to shower. I read, I did homework and word search puzzles and watched a lot of TV. ER started that year. I spent a couple hours a day hooked up to a monitor for contractions.
Early in the afternoon on December 10th my contractions started and didn't seem to want to settle down. By 7 o'clock the decision had been made that it looked like there wasn't much more they could do and I would be delivering soon. I remember the contractions were starting to get painful. I remember being terrified because I didn't really understand what was happening. I did remember that my mother had always told me that labor was the most painful thing that I would ever endure, but that it was necessary to have a baby (I'm glad I later learned that, at least for me, this is not the case). My body was working against me and I was loosing control. I called my mom and a good friend to come and be with me. I couldn't do this alone. I talked on the phone with my Aunt Tina through the contractions until they took me to L&D around 8 o'clock.
I had a great nurse who promised me he would do everything he could to get the anesthesiologist as quickly as he could. My heplock was flushed, an IV started and the monitors set up. I remember I almost cried when the anesthesiologist made it in and started my epidural. I finally had some relief from the child that was trying to rip itself from my body. I could rest and relax. I was contracting, but could only see them on the monitor. I couldn't move my legs. The nurse told me to let him know when I needed to push. I told him I didn't know how I would know when that was. He said "oh, you'll know. It'll feel like you need to poop". Oh great. He was right.
I don't know how long I pushed for. I know I pushed when they told me to. I remember having to tell my mom to please stop crying and count. I yelled at the doctor for hurting me when he was trying to stretch me and not give me an epsiotomy and help me not tear.
Immediately after she was born they took her to the isolet to check her apgar and breathing. She was six weeks early and they needed to make sure that everything was working the way it was supposed to.
She weighed 5lbs 2oz.
I don't remember getting to hold her because the NICU team that I had with me wanted to take her right away. I remember getting to see her wrapped in her little blanket on a warming pad. I was told I could sleep and go see her later. And that's what I did.
I spent two or so more days in the hospital. Krystyne spent 11. I spent 18 hours a day with her. She came home on December 22, 1994.
In the last 16 years I have made good decisions and bad decisions. Sometimes it's hard to tell which is which. Some days they're the same decision.
Happy birthday baby girl. May you make better choices than I did. May all of your dreams and desires come true. You were a beautiful baby and have grown into a beautiful young woman. I love you with all my heart.
Please, don't make me kill you, this has been a lot of work!